Category Archives: Information

Where’s My Luggage?

Lost Luggage

Over 1 million bags of luggage were lost in the last year.  Wow, that is a lot of people being Inconvenience . Can you imagine arriving at your destination only to realize that everything you need is unavailable. That is a huge problem and incredibly time consuming.  Airlines have tried their best to correct this issue but it continues to be one of the biggest challenges when traveling. I remember this happened to me when I was flying from NY to Oaklahoma. I arrived safely only to realize my luggage was in California. I contacted the airline and they corrected the problem but it was over 14 hours later. It made my stay much harder as I didn’t have some items that I was counting on using.  This got me to thinking, what if the luggage wasn’t lost, but I was!

It sounds funny but just think, my luggage was in the beautiful sunny state of California and I was in Oklahoma. I mean no disrespect to the Sooner fans but even they would have to admit that the California weather is much better.  My luggage was having a good time on the west coast and I was miserable where I was. I was basically existing without my basic essentials. Everything I needed was in that luggage. I needed it and it belonged to me but it was serving me no purpose because it was in a totally different area.

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I truly believe that many times in life we put ourselves in this situation.  Our luggage or our resources, happiness, and desires which are connected to our purpose,  are in one place but we are living without them and merely existing somewhere else. Airlines are losing millions are bags of luggage but even more people are losing millions of bags of dreams.  I would have rather been in California with my luggage than to be in Oaklahoma without it. Our purpose comes with the resources we need, the relationships we need and the favor we need but we have to trust the path laid before us to enjoy it. Instead we endure and exist. We stay in relationships that are unhealthy, we work at places we literally hate to make money that will never get us to where we need to be. We stifle our growth and productivity all because of the fear of walking in purpose, which is the unknown. Now I am not saying that the path of purpose is smooth, there will be tons of challenges and disappointments but the same goes for not walking in your purpose. They both have challenges but at least with your purpose you are building your brand and vision. The return on investment is so much higher than just playing it safe.

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So I will leave you with this, I am telling you that your luggage is out there somewhere. It is just waiting for you to claim it and take what rightfully belongs to you.  Don’t go through life hating your job, relationships and possessions when you have so much more that you are entitled to. No, don’t believe the lies that you can’t have it. It may be challenging and it you will have to work for it but the weather is MUCH better in California!!!

 

Black Men Stop Being So Sensitive

Black Men Stop Being So Sensitive!!!

 

     In Light of the recent Phil Jackson comments calling Lebron James business partners/friends, his “POSSE”.  And the criticism that Cam Newton gets for stating that he doesn’t get the calls that other elite QB’s get. Not to mention your regular business executives/workers and the issues that they see regularly but do not mention for fear of being labeled sensitive or trouble makers. Black men are in a classic catch-22 position, sensitive if they do, dammed if they don’t

Oct 30, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts in the third quarter against the New York Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-186268 ORIG FILE ID: 20141030_ajw_ar7_281.JPG

I listen to a lot of talk radio. In the Lebron case many people were saying, what’s the big deal? Phil Jackson didn’t mean anything by calling his group a posse. From their point of view the meaning of posse is just a group that shares the same ideas or interest. Why is he is upset over that, doesn’t he and his associates share the same interest? In definition they are correct, in theory, they are correct, but as we all know we don’t live life in theory or definition. Especially as a black man in corporate America, unfortunately there are messages behind the words. My question to Phil supporters in this case would be, How would have Phil Jackson referred to Trump’s sons? How would he address Michael Phelps and his friends? I highly doubt that he would refer to them as a posse. But by Lebron addressing this concern people want to say he is being sensitive. In my opinion, Lebron wasn’t even responding for himself or his friends, I feel he was responding for other black men who do not have a voice or platform to get this conversation in the forefront. I have said it before and I will say it again, many people really don’t even realize that their words or actions are offensive and insensitive. While writing this I just read in the NY daily news how a Dr. making 360, 000 a year just posted on her FB account that First Lady Michelle Obama had a monkey face and spoke poor Ebonics. And in the same post said she is not a racist.

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Lastly, it reminded me of my first job experience where I felt I had a good relationship with my supervisor a GANNETT newspaper on 42nd street back in 1990. I felt he was a solid fair individual and always gave me little bonuses and tips. The only problem was he always called me slick. I was a young guy so I didn’t really pay too much attention to it but as I think back on it that was horrible. I never voiced any displeasure and he sure never apologized as neither of us thought anything was wrong with it. So I think bringing attention to issues like this is always appropriate because it may help to see how insensitive some things really are.  When we don’t talk about them we continue to allow these issues to be ELEPHANTS in the room. So I encourage black men to continue to voice displeasure over such issues and lets continue the dialogue to expose, discuss and correct such issues. I believe that is a much better solution, that works better than bringing our posses up to handle it.

Why are our young black men hurting?

 

I have just come from an awesome basketball camp sponsored by YOUNGLIFE. We had a great time of supporting and cheering on some terrific young men while we were there. My organization ThatSuitsYOU and Dr. Alex Ellis Tiedtogreatness were guest presenters. We donated over 150 ties and suits to these young men, which was a trememdous sight to see. We also encouraged them during thier tournament all the way to the championship. I figured this would be the highlight of the week and my job was done, boy was I wrong.

 

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Each night Young Life conducted a initimate smaller group chat with the young men. I was not ready for this. After seeing the guys eat, play basketball, try on ties, etc for most of the day I assumed they were during fairly well in everyday life. I was mistaken.  Our young men are in pain, they are hurting. Secretly hiding pain everyday that no 14-21 should have to hide. They are facing issues like

  • Living without a father in the home.

CNN recently reported that 68% of black households have 1 parent. Coming from a 2 parent household and being a parent now in a household I know how challenging it is personally to raise children with both parents. So being a sinlgle parent can be even more so. I am in no way am down playing single moms but I know the benefits that a father brings to the relationship of a young man. These young men have developed a strong resentment and hate for their absent fathers. They said they felt unloved, and abandoned.  Without their fathers being there, they are being looked at now to HANDLE the hole that their dad has left. So teenagers are asked to play the role of teenager/father in the household.

  • Lack of love/appreciate

They expressed a lack of love because they believe in alot of cases their mother treats them harsh because of the disrespect she felt from their dad. Being that he is not present they recieve the brunt of her anger. That misguided anger towards them is also displayed in front of their siblings which adds to their frustration. Also, because it is a single parent home their mother may have to work longer hours to pay all the bills for them to survive, which means less time, less communication, less interaction with the one parent that they have. Again, not to point the finger at her as she is trying to do everything that she can, but they see it as another form of neglect.

  • No one to talk to

Just the 2 issues we addressed so far can be stressful and now they feel as though they have no one to discuss these issues with. Their father is either in prison, dead or wants nothing to do with them. Their mother is working extended hours and has so many other responsibilities. They feel they can’t discuss these things with their friends because it will make them look weak, soft or vulnerble. And NO black male can have either of those characteristics because that is a definite death wish in their community. So they basically suck it up and keep everything bottled in until something triggers an explosion.

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This explains the anger we see in alot of our youth. This explain the solitude, the rebellion and misunderstandings. All children want is to be heard, to be appreciated, to be loved and supported. I believe alot of times we don’t give our young men a solid chance. They face these issues addressed here and much more. I didn’t even mention gangs, drugs, racism, unfair education, stereotypes, etc.  We mix all these things together into a young man, shake it up, let it sit, give him a diploma or GED and say go be a success in life, make me proud!!!

In conclusion there is big money in the prison system. 74 BILLION dollars worth. Any smart and savvy businessman that is in a business that deals with that much money will do whatever it takes to keep that going and to increase it consistently. That is only smart business. Knowing this, we have to be proactive in our thinking to not to expect our help for this growing issue of mass incarceration to come from outside sources. We have to be creative and tenacious to build programs, nonprofits, businesses to address and curb this problem. Their very lives are at stake. To see these young men share and cry and share and console one another was life changing. While TSY provided suits and motivational information and TTG did the same, it was the relationship building that truly made an impact.

Fathers, our young men need us bad!!!

After reading this call your sons, hug them, listen to them, they NEED US!!!

Tie training video

 

See more videos and photos from this awesome event on our social media pages

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We All Can’t Be Business Owners, Can We?

I remember listening to Dame Dash interview on NYC’s Power 105.1 Breakfast Club earlier this year. There was a statement that Dame made that had everyone thinking. They were either highly in favor of what he said or highly critical of it. He basically said that he felt EVERYONE should own their own business and not work for others their whole life. Some of the Breakfast Club members disagreed for various reasons and they debated the point most of the interview.

I must have watched this interview over 50 times, and I totally, 100 percent agree with Dame, and I will tell you why.

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Some of the reasons the Breakfast Club members (DJ Envy, and Charlemagne Tha God) and so many others disagreed with what Dame said were

1)Not everyone has the resources

2)Not everyone has the ability

3)Everyone can’t be owners because then who would do the work

4)Not everyone has the opportunity to be an owner

I emphatically disagree with all of these reasons as to why people cannot be owners because…

NOT EVERYONE HAS THE RESOURCES– If you read books about most successful people, so many build empires from apparently having no resources to begin with. The apparent lack of finances should not be a deterrent to achieving ownership. I say apparent because if we just look at what we see with our eyes we often miss out on so many opportunities which can only be seen with vision.

NOT EVERYONE HAS THE ABILITY-In this day and age whatever you do not know you can always learn. Whether through the internet, books, HOW TO FOR DUMMIES, or by partnering with someone who has that skill you lack. If you lack the ability to do a certain task there are several ways to overcome that. So even if initially you lack the ability to do something, it doesn’t have to remain that way. When someone is great in one area but needs help in another,  partnering with someone is a key strategic move done by many successful people all the time.

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EVERYONE CAN’T BE OWNERS BECAUSE THEN WHO WOULD DO THE WORK-I find this to be a very weird concern. Do you think Oprah ever thought, “I don’t believe I should build an empire because someone may need me to work for them”. Or Michael Jordan said, “I can’t worry about winning championships because I may be needed to work for someone”. No, those are not even concerns that business owners think or care about.  They are just focused on being the best person they can be. They are dedicated to fulfilling their purpose. The only people who may be worried about that are people that are looking for excuses not to own their destiny and control their future.

NOT EVERYONE HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE AN OWNER-We have this misconception that opportunity comes to us knocking. I haven’t heard a knock, doorbell, phone call or email from opportunity. I believe opportunity passively waits around to be discovered and only the courageous, focused and determined are bold enough to take advantage of it.

So yes I believe we all can be owners, but will we? Probably not, but not because of the reasons listed. Many will not simply because they CHOOSE not to, but they definitely can, just ask Dame.

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I am at a Networking Event…. Now what?

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As an entrepreneur you have most likely heard how important it is for you to “GET OUT AND NETWORK”. If you are on social media (and I strongly recommend that you are), you have without a doubt seen numerous flyers, invites or post about networking events. Network, network, network, is being shouted all over the place. So as an upcoming business person you decide to go and see what the hype is all about.

Now coming from someone who attends networking events regularly I can definitely share a few tips that I have learned. First, let me start off by saying that like anything else, networking is what you get out of it. Meaning, just by listening to some, they would give the impression that simply attending a networking event would guarantee you an increase in clients or knowledge. No, being successful at these events requires you to master the 3 S’s; Selective, Strategy and Smart.

Selective: Being selective in regards to the events you go to, and the people you spend time engaging with. Like I mentioned earlier there are network events going on several times each week. The most popular days seem to be Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. So knowing this you have to plan accordingly and be very selective to which events you believe would be most beneficial to your brand and business. Attending too many events can be counterproductive as you may meet more people but not necessarily the right people for you. Also the travel and hours of attending too many events will definitely cause fatigue.

Strategy: Strategy is displayed by seeing where the event will be held, who is attending the event and how many people are they anticipating.  All of these are very important and will help you in being strategic about attending or not. If the event is far away but they are anticipating some key people in your field attending, you would make the decision that it will be worth the travel. However, if they are expecting a large turnout to an event near your home but not one person attending fits your brand you might decide to sit this one out.

Smart: Perhaps the most important S is be smart. After being selective and strategic, when you arrive at the event, be smart. Dress the part. A good networking experience is like having several mini interviews throughout the night. The rule; make a good first impression stands, so always dress to impress. It would be foolish to do all this work preparing for the NETWORK event and then simply stand against the wall and make it a NOWORK event. Be smart and work the room, listen to different conversations, use a firm handshake when meeting people and be very specific and brief when introducing yourself. If there is a connection with people, there will be time to get deeper into your business. Be smart, always have several business cards. To many times I am at these events and people say , “I don’t have anymore”. Not smart at all.

Finally, although there most likely will be food, music and drinks and it may seem like a party, it isn’t. You are at work, building your brand. Sure, have fun but the priority is to make connections and spread the word about your business.

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CAN YOU RELATE TO YOUR RELATIONSHIPS?

 

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This is an interesting question that I have to ask because I found that a lot of people really can not. In this impersonal social media and email era, the skill of dealing with humans is being lost in a lot of ways.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a HUGE social media junkie, I also prefer email and text over speaking on the phone as well, however I still know the importance and skill it takes to deal with people face to face and one on one. Seems like a contradiction but it really isn’t. I believe to be truly successful in today’s world you must be able to be efficient at both.

How many times have you received horrible customer service from a store or business? How many supervisors do you know that know their job but have zero people skills? Or How many people do you know that can only think about themselves? They want you to help them, support them, come to their event,  but don’t even for a second think about reciprocating for you. Yes, true people skills really seems to be lacking today. More importantly the people guilty of these actions seem totally oblivious to their actions. They are the same ones going to social media to say how crazy everyone else is!

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Despite this deterioration, don’t allow this to deter you from still displaying your excellent people skills and nurturing your relationships.  The  reason being, those with great people skills still seem to go further in life and have healthier relationships. But what if you are one of those people who we are talking about who walks around with a frown but  swears to everyone you are really smiling.  There are many people who are destroying critical relationships and they have no clue that they are doing it.

What do you do to repair or maintain your relationships?

  • Ask a close friend. Ask someone who will give you honest feedback.  They can tell you if you come off selfish, or inconsiderate of others. If so don’t be offended, make adjustments.
  • Speak to people how you would like to be spoken to. Sounds simple, but if we really heard how we speak to people sometimes we would be shocked. No one likes to be spoken to like a child even when they are in the wrong.
  • Look in the mirror. There are times when we know we are wrong but at the moment really don’t care because we are so focused on ourselves. Take a good look at yourself and realize when you are at fault. If you are be responsible and change your approach.

I can’t stress enough how important relationships are in  today’s society. So often we think money is our number one resource, when in actuality our number resource is people. Remember it is not always WHAT you know, but WHO you know!

IF THE SUIT FITS. .WEAR IT!!!

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Just think of all the big occassions in a typical mans life….he is wearing a suit right? Whether it’s a wedding, or court date, job interview or heck even their own funeral.  Suits are worn on these occasions because men want to feel special and important.  Not only do they feel special but women love to see men look their best and a suit definitely  helps that to happen. A well tailored or fitting suit, with a power tie, cuff links, crisp shirt and polished shoes,  whoooooowe….

When you see a man walking down the street dressed like this, you don’t know if he owns the block or just has an interview on the block.  What a powerful feeling, what a confidence builder, what a great experience.

Unfortunately many men all over are missing out on these experiences because they lack the knowledge of the importance of dressing professionally and /or they lack the finances to purchase them.

I see so many of our young men who don’t know how to tie a tie or have never worn a suit. Many of them because they lack a male figure in their lives to show them and train them. I thank God my father was around to show and teach my brother and I. When boys lack these positive male figures in their life it can hinder them in so many ways. No disrespect to women who have done great jobs when they had to but I believe there are things that a man can bring that is truly significant in a young mans development

So my brother and I want to help young men experience that feeling of wearing a suit, learning how to tie a tie, and then showing others the same. We formed a non-profit called WWW.THATSUITSYOU.ORG. We recieve donated suits and ties and provide them to men who complete job training programs throughtout the country.

Men, churches, businesses, men stores all over contact us to donate clothing to us to assist us in our vision. We want to help men all over to get back on their feet and support their families.

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I DON’T HAVE TIME TO DO SOCIAL MEDIA FOR MY SMALL BUSINESS

Kiev, Ukraine - August 26, 2013 - A collection of well-known social media brands printed on paper and placed on plastic signs. Include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram and Tumblr logos.

So often when I come across an interesting small business I immediately run to Twitter,  Instagram or Facebook to get more information or just to make a quick connection with them. I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to find out that many of these small businesses do not have a social media presence.  I am not talking about 2 or 3 but from my studying more than 60 percent of the small businesses I came across did not have an active social media presence. Not only businesses but so many churches across the country have totally ignored this opportunity to reach the masses.

Make no mistake plenty of people are like me and would much rather link up with a business on social media before going to their website. So when business neglect to add this vital feature to their profile they are missing out on customers, exposure and more importantly income.

Now I’ve had small business owners tell me, yes I am all over social media; Facebook,  Instagram and Twitter. However, when I go to the page the profile is incomplete,  it contains an old logo and they haven’t posted anything in 24 weeks. Now to social media pros this is a no-no. This is worse than not having any accounts at all. People will not follow your accounts if they see that you are not active and will have questions about your business as a whole.

Also business owners will say, “well I don’t have the time”. They would rather function on the part of the business that they are good at, which is understandable, but not acceptable.  Being a business owner will require you to wear many different hats and some of the hats are not as comfortable as others, but all are needed. Like you would do with any other part of your business if you are not qualified to do it, you hire someone who is.

As for the churches, from the several I have contacted many have some mystery person who I could never reach who “runs” their social media department.  Again another missed opportunity.  In today’s world,  social media is a monster and must be tapped into with just as much tenacity as any other area of your business.

Social media was so instrumental to me in running  Www.thatsuitsyou.org, (a non-profit where we provide suits to men for work), I was able to connect with businesses like BLACK ENTERPRISE,  ABC, CBS, MLB and individuals like BILL RITTER, DON CHAMPION and TOM LLAMAS. Also everyday business and individuals from all over the country. I was actually on the cover of a magazine in Hawaii simply based on social media. So I know the value that it can bring. As a result I began managing social media accounts for individuals and churches who realized they needed one but didnt know how to manage one or just didnt have the time to do it.

Whatever you reason may have been for not having a strong social media presence prior to reading this, make every effort to change that as you could be costing yourself customers and money by being ANTI SOCIAL!!!

How do you see me?

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I remember this like it was yesterday. My family went on one of those shopping trips to Reading, PA to take advantage of all the discounted outlets. It was 1985, and I had to be about 14 or 15 years old. I was feeling grown, so a few of my cousins and I went off to do our own shopping. I had about $200 that I earned working during the summer. Within an hour I had a little less than $25 left—I really made the most out of the money I had and I figured I was done shopping. However as we were leaving I noticed a sign by the exit stating “All items under $20”. There were a pair of Polo sneakers that fell in this under $20 category. So I stared at the sign and the sneakers and began to calculate how much money I had left. Should I spend my last dime on these sneakers? Were they damaged? Did I really want them? All of these thoughts were going through my mind, and that’s when I sensed someone staring at me. I turned and saw it was a white woman who I figured was a supervisor or employee in the store. She then proceeded to say out loud to security positioned across the room—“Make sure all these sneakers have security alarms on them!!!”

Now, as a 14 year old boy I didn’t really pay attention to her motives until I got back on the bus and thought about it. I was in the store thinking whether or not I should make a purchase but from her perspective she saw me and assumed I was trying to figure out how to steal the sneakers. I was not dressed inappropriately, I wasn’t loud or menacing, I wasn’t posing a threat to anyone. I was just a regular teenager shopping in an outlet store. However, to her I was a black teenager in a store and that made the world of difference on her skewed perspective of the situation.

This experience has stayed with me for my whole life. My question is—what caused this biased view of me? If I were white or of a different race would she have reacted the same way. As I became an adult, I found out that the situation from years prior was not an isolated one. Time and time again I would experience similar reactions from people in various settings—the culprits were mostly white but other races as well were just as guilty (including black people). I walk down the street and people grab their bags or switch their bags from one side to the other. I walk into stores and security is alerted. Actually when I worked at a department store as a teenager they instructed us to make an announcement to security if 2 or 3 black males came in together.

I thought about it and realized that people spend a great amount of time watching television and surfing the internet. Most people get their information from either one of those sources—whether it is the news, reality TV, social media or some website. People utilize these outlets to educate themselves on many different matters. The images from most of these outlets overwhelmingly depict black people (especially males) as criminals, thieves, drug dealers, unintelligent, and unsuccessful. Thus, this is the image most people have of black men. This is the image people see when black men go into stores. This is the image people see when black men go for interviews. This is the image people see when black men walk down the street. This is the image police have of black men. This is the image the store employee had of me when I was contemplating buying those sneakers.

 

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As I think about it, mostly all of the heroes in movies or TV I watched growing up were not people of color. Blacks were actually the villains, the bad guys, the enemy. No real super heroes, no black men saving the day, no black men being celebrated and praised. They were depicted as the total opposite. Some will say, “well we have a black president now, and things have changed recently”. That is true to a degree but the last 6-8 years cannot erase the previous years so quickly in our minds and our perceptions.

It can be stated that a lot of crimes are committed by blacks so these media outlets are just displaying the reality. However if the only interaction of black people you have comes from what you see on TV or discover on the internet, then your perception of blacks in general will be off. Image plays a tremendous role in life. If a black man goes for a job interview but the person interviewing him has a distorted perception of black men then his chances of getting that job are greatly diminished. If a black man starts a business and his potential clients have a distorted image of blacks then he will suffer because people won’t trust him to run an excellent business.

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10993463_788746271181023_6895259486174446207_oThat is why I am so happy for the work we are doing at That Suits You. We first and foremost try to change the image that black men have of themselves—this is of utmost importance. Once a person has a positive image of themselves they are more prepared to handle the adversities of life. We give presentations and work to encourage men young and old to help each other to achieve greatness in life.

We work with programs all over NYC who train men to get back to work or to start their own businesses. Once they have completed their training we provide the icing on the cake by donating suits, shirts and ties to them to assist them with their outer image. The suits are only a reflection of how they feel on the inside. We know that not everyone may not see a man differently because he’s in a suit, but we know that wearing a suits greatly helps men in increasing their confidence, strengthening their inner image, and getting their lives back on track.

We may not be able to change everyone’s perception of black people but we can definitely help men have a better perception of themselves.